More than Just the Philanderer and the Pharisee

You hear a lot in some churches about how Jesus spent time with sinners, and about how Jesus was always putting the 'religious elite' in their place.  Because of this it is easy to develop a picture of Jesus either as a guy sitting around the bar cracking jokes with all his unsaved buddies, or as a guy continually raining on the parade of the religious.  Both pictures of Jesus have some merit, they are both represented in Scripture.  I don't think, however, that this completes the picture.  Following Jesus isn't as simple as loving blind tolerance of sinful behavior, or speaking harsh words against the rule-following, critically-minded religious.

It is instructive that the New Testament letters spend a good deal of time dealing with all that area in between Philanderer and Pharisee.  The letters of the Apostles and early Christian leaders address a wide array of topics like sexual immorality, work ethic, pure speech, hypocrisy, ex communication, order, discipline, grace, and forgiveness.  Love God, love people is a nice motto but we'd have a pretty short Bible if that was all that mattered.  Rather, to follow Christ is to be called into a constant ebb an flow, passion and redirection, grace-needed, forgiveness-offered, striving for righteousness, endeavor.  It is work.  And it is work that many people in churches have no interest in doing.

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling the Apostle Paul said.  Which means we don't get saved and just stay the same.  We are to take serious the work of understanding who Christ is and applying the Word of God in our lives.  When was the last time you felt fear and trembling regarding your salvation?  When was the last time you were concerned about if your faith was genuine?  When was the last time you tremble at the thought of displeasing God or misunderstanding him?

Work it out the Bible says.  Don't let your heart be settled simply because you are not a Philanderer or a Pharisee.  Evaluate every area of your life to ensure that it is being brought into alignment with the nature of God and the character of Christ.  Get up when you fall.  Stand up on the truth.  Look up for the hope you need to press on.